For years we’ve known that sweet treats can lead to tooth decay, but for those who struggle to shake off those sugary cravings, you may be happy to learn that there are health benefits to eating dark chocolate, including keeping your teeth healthy.
What’s in Chocolate?
Chocolate is made from the dried and fermented seeds of the cacao tree, which typically grow in tropical regions near the equator. Cocoa beans are full of strong antioxidants including tannins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and Theobromine.
Tannins, which gives dark chocolate its bitter taste and dark pigments, helps prevent cavities by inhibiting bacteria from sticking to your teeth.
Polyphenols, a micronutrient, aids in neutralizing the bacteria that cause bad breath, preventing infections in your gums, and fighting tooth decay.
Flavonoids, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, helps to slow tooth decay and promote gum health.
Theobromine, an alkaloid chemical found in cocoa and tea, helps prevent tooth decay by hardening tooth enamel. A 2013 study showed that Theobromine was more effective at remineralizing tooth structure then fluoride, which is the industry standard in North America. Theobromine shows promise in cavity prevention and one North American companies now manufacturers chocolate toothpaste containing Theobromine.
What does this mean to you?
While a Snickers a day won’t keep the dentist away because of its high sugar content and small amounts of cocoa, dark chocolate, 70% cocoor higher, paired with smart oral health practices, may help prevent cavities. So the next time you need a sweet treat or if you can’t brush after a meal, indulge in a piece of fair-trade, dark chocolate.